Saturday, August 27, 2011

Those Days

A day never becomes one of those days; it starts off as one.  And when the phone rings 3 minutes before your alarm clock goes off, you can bet your ass that it is one of those days.  

6:27am - emergency call about an alpaca dystocia.  Rotten cria twisted in a knot. Apparently it was breech, and the owner so helpfully turned it.  Sarcasm. 
7:30am - boss leaves voicemail with schedule for the day.  The plan: finish dystocia, sick alapaca (8am), re-oil Wednesday night's colicky racehorse (9am), lambs with pink eye (10am), sick goat (11am), check 2 fresh cows that are off in milk (around noon), dehorn a goat (early afternoon), health papers for pigs (4pm).

8am - call boss while standing outside in the middle of a thunderstorm, surrounded by trees, the only place I had cell service.  Tell her the alpaca emergency is a disaster and a half.  When the owner turned the breech, she did not turn the head around as well. Fetotomy on the horizon.  She agrees to call clients and update them on a time schedule.

9:30am - emergency finally done.  Schedule is now: re-oil colic, check fresh cows, sick goat, lambs with pinkeye, cancel the goat dehorning (rescheduled the goat dehorning for Friday), check the sick alpaca, and add a second set of health papers to be done at the end of the day.

10am - yay for my house being on the way to the colic! Clean clothes so I don't smell like rotten fetus for the rest of the day! Minor victory. 

11am - colic re-oiled and doing very well.  On the way to appointments.  Boss calls.  Horse with COPD accidentally got access to a round bale and is in respiratory distress.  An hour in the opposite direction.  New schedule: deal with the horse, sick alpaca, lambs with pinkeye have to be seen by 3pm, sick goat now has to be dealt with before the fresh cows, do one set of health papers.  Second set had to be rescheduled for another day.

1pm- COPD horse stable.  Headed back in the other direction. No changes to the schedule at the moment.  But I do now have to make it a point to get by the office to pick up supplies for a goat annual herd test on Friday morning.  All the remaining appointments are at least 30 minutes from the office.

1:30pm - sick alpaca appointment that was originally supposed to happen at 8am. Mentally planning how to be the most efficient through the afternoon while examining the alpaca.  Note that I'm severely low on some key supplies/medications. 

2:20pm - treat lambs with pinkeye.  Quick, easy, and an owner one her own tight schedule gets me back on the road quickly.

3pm -deal with sick goat.  Had to be euthanized, but it took quite a long time for the owner to make the decision.  I'm behind again.

4pm - finally to the fresh cows.  Crossing all my fingers and toes that neither of them had as a DA.  Luckily (for me, not so much the cows), one had pneumonia and one had metritis.  Owner more than capable of doing treatment without me there.  Which rocks.

4:45pm - hoping my health paper appointment (scheduled for 4pm) is still available.  Have a voicemail from the boss.  Another sick fresh cow.  Back in the opposite direction.  Still have not managed to get to the office to re-stock the truck and pick up Friday's necessities.

5:00pm - quick and easy health paper appointment. 

5:30pm - checking out the sick fresh cow.  Fingers crossed again.  Pneumonia (gotta love hot days and cool nights).  Owner not able to treat on own.  Treat the cow.  Head to the office.

6:45pm - arrive at office. Multi-tasking ensues.  Gather supplies, run some blood work, ect ect.  Luckily the phone has stayed quiet.  Made some schedule adjustments for Friday with the boss.

8pm - done with lab work and truck organization.  Still no emergency calls.  Decide to go home and do paperwork instead of staying at the office.

8:20pm - 10 minutes from home.  Phone rings.  Sick horse emergency.  30 minutes in the opposite direction.  Dammit. 

10:20pm - finally done with the sick horse.  Headed home again. No chance of paperwork getting done tonight.  Fairly certain that the sick horse call was karma biting me in the ass for not staying at the office to do the paperwork, where I only would have been 10 minutes away. 

10:58pm - walk in the door.  Kick off boots.  Trudge up the stairs, shedding clothes as I go. Crawl into bed, pray to all the god of all the religions that I don't have to go back out tonight. Pass out from exhaustion. 

That was my Thursday.  I think I'm tired again from re-living that day.  Going to kick back on the couch, watch some mindless TV, and hope that the phone stays quiet.  I don't know if I can handle another one of those days this week.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


This is my tribute to livestock auctioneers.  Particularly those who sell the 4-H and FFA project animals at county and state fairs.  With every bang of the gavel, there is one less animal to get sick, get hurt, and thus wake me up in the middle of the night.  So thank you auctioneers; you help hard working youth get a fair price for their hard work, and in turn help veterinarians get more sleep at night.  

In other news, check out a picture of a WV State Fair cinnamon roll.  I don't know how many calories one of these things and I can't even begin to care.  These are the absolute best cinnamon rolls ever created, made fresh all day, every day.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


When I'm working, I try to keep in mind that as the doctor, I should be the voice of calm reason.  Even when things are a little (or a lot) emotional, it's my job to keep my cool and then at 10 o'clock last night, I found myself with  my pants around my ankles in a goat shed.

I was treating a goat who had gotten loose in a corn field and gone hog wild to the point of rumen acidosis and bloat.  The owner had rigged up a spotlight, which had in turn woken up a nest of ground bees.  Or hornets.  Doesn't really matter what they were, all that matters were that one of those suckers weaved it's way over to my little section of the pen, crawled up inside my pants leg and proceeded to sting the ever living crap out of me.  I had a tube down the goat, into the stomach trying to relieve the bloat and I believe my monologue went something like this: ".... so she's going to need some TLC in order to keep her going while her body handles these metabolic changes... ow. OW!  OW OW OW!!! <take off running, unbuckling belt, jumping inside the goat shed, shucking my pants> Please pull the tube out of the goat! OW! Son of a bitch! Die die die you evil little bastard!  <long pause>  Could someone please get me a bag of ice?"

I got myself sorted out, duct taped the bag of ice to the outside of my jeans.  I apologized for the interruption, and my language. Obviously I didn't even have a shred of dignity left at this point.  None.  It was so far gone I had even lost the ability to blush.  I finished the appointment and came home.  I'm sure in 20 years or so I'll laugh.  Maybe.  The owners of the goat?  They got to do all their laughing as I drove away.  And I'm pretty sure it made for some excellent water cooler conversation and their jobs today.